Sep 05 2023

Enough To Simply Trust

In the blink of an eye, two-thirds of the year has already passed. We thank the Lord for helping us through tumultuous times. After three years of lockdown nightmares, we rejoice that our ministry has gradually recovered. Even more joyous and comforting is that at long last, we can meet face-to-face and have heart-to-heart conversations with our colleagues!

The nationwide shutdown from 2020 to 2022 hit our ministry hard. Last year, we only managed to complete 32 training sessions, 20% below our annual target. Then from the start of 2023 with the sudden end to COVID restrictions, training gradually returned to normal. During the first six months of the year, we held a total of 25 trainings, 11 more than the same period last year.

But does this mean everything is fine? I’m afraid not. Although the pandemic is over, the weather remains unpredictable, increasing the risk of training. Several training sites temporarily suspended classes due to tight monitoring. Authorities have also stepped up the enforcement of religious laws. Those accused of breaking them face serious consequences.

In spite of harsh climate conditions, believers in East Asia have not shrunk back. Rather they have pursued the truth even more fervently. I remember on the day authorities announced the lifting of anti-pandemic measures, our training partners pleaded with us to resume classes right away. Amazingly, the number of trainings soared, exceeding expectations in the first half of 2023. This momentum continued over the past two months so that a total of 39 trainings have been conducted so far this year, essentially reaching the annual target.

While we thank God for this amazing achievement, we are mindful not to blindly go for big numbers. More critically, we want to focus on transforming the hearts of believers. Due to unfavorable weather, no matter how hard we try, we sometimes only get half the results with twice the effort. But if we take a long-term view, we know that what we do today will not be in vain if we are aligned with the heart of God. Just like it was for us last year when we could not see the way forward, we continue to work hard today towards a bright future. 

“Unless the LORD builds the house, the builders labor in vain.
Unless the LORD watches over the city, the guards stand watch in vain.”
(Psalm 127:1, NIV)
Dramatic environmental changes in recent years have profoundly impacted our ministry. In the face of uncertainty, it will not be easy to regain stability let alone make further progress. But precisely because of such difficulties, we can all the more appreciate the faithfulness and power of the Lord. No matter how dark the way forward, it is enough for us to walk with the Lord and simply trust. 
“Though an army besiege me, my heart will not fear;
though war break out against me, even then I will be confident.”
(Psalm 27:3, NIV)

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